December 30, 2013 Sally Bjornsen
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MEDITATE YOUR WAY INTO THE NEW YEAR

Meditate Your Way Into the New Year-What’s that about you ask? “Daily meditation can make all the difference,” says Lisa Strain one of the fresh faced owners of Kari Gran.  She has been telling me that now for about six months.   It’s not that I don’t believe her it’s just that, well, who has the time? Of course I do have time to surf the net for the latest and greatest green t-shirt.  I think just yesterday I wiled away an hour doing just that.  I have meditated before and I have found it tremendously helpful but life’s daily, mundane distractions keep me from it.  I have this image of meditating on a soft, special blanket, surrounded by candles and incense in front of beautiful view of the ocean with sounds of seagulls and waves in the background.   In my vision I am all alone, dressed in white with a dot between my eyes.  I think it is this vision, this complicated “doing it right,” version of meditation that keeps me from it–who has the time for that?   When I recount the image to Lisa, she scoffs,   “F*(% that! you can do it in your car.”  I have read that meditation need not be formal and that a special blanket, while nice, is not necessary when it comes to calming the mind.  So with that I am committed to meditate every day in January of 2014.   I did a little research and here’s what I found…I think this can work for me.

Meditation is practice for observing those thoughts, for being more mindful of them throughout the day,” says San Francisco-based Leo Babauta, a published author and creator of popular wellness blog Zen Habits. He suggests five simple steps for making it a daily ritual.  How hard can it be?  His tips are below.

1. Commit to just two minutes a day for 30 Days: Start simply if you want the habit to stick. You can do it for five minutes if you you can commit, but I’m starting with two minutes each day.

2. Pick a time and trigger: Not an exact time of day, but a general time, like morning when you wake up, or during your lunch hour. “The trigger should be something you already do regularly, like drink your first cup of coffee, brush your teeth, have lunch, or arrive home from work.”

3. Find a quiet spot: Sometimes early morning is best, before others in your house might beawake and making lots of noise. Others might find a spot in a park or on the beach or some other soothing setting. It really doesn’t matter where — as long as you can sit without being bothered for a few minutes.

4. Sit comfortably: Don’t fuss too much about how you sit, what you wear, what you sit on, etc. “I personally like to sit on a pillow on the floor, with my back leaning against a wall, because I’m very inflexible. Others who can sit cross-legged comfortably might do that instead,” says Babauta. If you find sitting on the floor uncomfortable, try a chair or couch.

5. Focus on your breath: As you breathe in, follow your breath in through your nostrils, then into your throat, then into your lungs and belly. Sit straight, keep your eyes open but looking at the ground and with a soft focus. If you want to close your eyes, that’s fine. As you breathe out, follow your breath out back into the world. If it helps, count … one breathe in, two breathe out, three breathe in, four breathe out … when you get to 10, start over. Says Babauta, “If you find your mind wandering (and you will), just pay attention to your mind wandering, then bring it gently back to your breath.” Repeat this process for the few minutes you meditate. It will become a regular habit in a matter of days.

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